Update: Vanessa Gray, Sarah Scanlon, and Stone Stewart have been charged with mischief over $5,000, and mischief endangering life. The courts have released all three on their own recognizance on Tuesday morning.
At 7:30 this morning a small group of protesters gathered in Sarnia, Ontario to protest Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline. Professional protester Vanessa Gray claimed “tar sands projects represent an ongoing cultural and environmental genocide.” Her partner Sarah Schanlon declared “when, not if, when it leaks it will be polluting and making water and air filled with chemicals across Ontario…we understand that bitumen is untreatable- which means that there’s no way to get it out of the drinking water, there’s no way of getting it out of the water that’s going into the food that we need consume.”
So, how do a group of anti-energy activists protest the “environmental genocide” of an future “untreatable” oil spills from a pipeline they’ve claimed is “too old” to be operated reliably? Simple – but dangerously stupid – they cut through the locks of a manually operated valve station, executed an unscheduled shut-down of the pipeline, and locked their necks to the wheel to prevent maintenance and emergency staff from turning it back on or off.
The protest was a copy-cat of the December 7th Line 9 tampering in Quebec. Both cases caused unscheduled shut-downs of Line 9, neither appear to have consulted experts who could tell them how safe or dangerous their actions were. In the worst-case scenario people could have died- if they truly believe that pipeline spills are “untreatable”, it took a special kind of stupid for them to have taken this risk.